Start exploring infographics

During the last several years I have noticed a change in how I obtain statistical information.  As a child and a young adult when I read statistical information I would struggle to figure out what the data were telling me.  Paragraphs on analysis didn’t help.  But viewing the information in a graph format made it easier.  Then again I can only look at so many bar graphs and pie charts before I get bored and start confusing one set of statistics with another.

A few years ago I noticed that media outlets were starting to present information more in colorful pictures with a theme representative of the subject.  I later learned that they were called infographics.  I found these bright images to be engaging and helped to make data more memorable and interesting.  I also found that my ability to retain data improved because I was able to associate a picture or an image with the data.  The video below explains some of the science of why they work so well.

The Value of Data Visualization from Column Five on Vimeo.

I know my students will come across a lot of data in their lives.  Data and statistics are everywhere and it is always a struggle to help students understand the information that they come across. Kathy Schrock has a wonderful video that not only demonstrates how teachers use infographics but also provides suggestions for how to get students to create their own.

Infographics as a Creative Assessment from Kathy Schrock on Vimeo.

I love infographics personally, but I have struggled using them in the classroom.  The overall quality and difficulty level in the language used on the infographics ranges widely (link to two).  However, I am thinking of using this infographic.  As this graph uses a combination of powerful images that relate to the facts written below them. I also like this infographic as is it highlights two sides to the issue of hydropower.  While a lot of people think that hydropower is great and should be used more, they do not necessarily think about the changes that are necessary to the local habitat.

 

To introduce the graphic I will ask the students to look at it at home and write down any thoughts that they have about it.  This will allow them time the opportunity to thoroughly analyze the image.  Once the students arrive in class we will look at the information together and analyze the information.  This will lead to a discussion and debate on hydroelectric power and whether or not it is good for the environment.

Video and Image Credits

The Power of Data Visualization by Column Five, found on Vimeo

Infographics as a Creative Assessment by Kathy Schrock, found on Vimeo

The Belo Monte Dam in Brazil by GDS Inforgraphics, found on Flickr, Creative Commons Licensed

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5 Comments

Filed under COETAIL, Course 3

5 responses to “Start exploring infographics

  1. Dear Brendan
    Thank you for this post. I found both of the presentations really helpful as I would like to create an infographic to represent my curriculum vitae but am not really very sure where to start. I like the idea of an infographic, as it could be a way to present a large amount of information in an easy to read format that is also visually appealing. The idea that an infographic is where data meets design seems to be a good place to start in my understanding. Also the suggestions about the importance of colour, size, orientation and use of other visual clues was helpful for me to begin thinking about. And above all to keep it simple. I am wondering, in your research into infographics did you come across any excellent examples of CVs?
    Thank you
    Clair

    • Hi Clair,

      I saw some examples in the readings that we did this week and myself am intrigued with the possibility of creating a nice polished infographic for my own site. In my research I did find this article by Erica Swallow which provides several tools to make your resume into an infographic.

      I’ll let you know when I get mine done.

  2. Thanks Brendan
    You were ahead of me in COETAIL readings! I have just finished reading about infographics – a whole new world to me! Thank you for the extra link. I have had a try at creating an resume using re.vu, but it still needs work. Good luck with yours
    Clair

    • Hi Clair,

      Infographics are a whole new world to me as well. I have just introduced the example I mentioned in my post to my students. I’m curious to find out what they thought of it.

  3. It is challenging to find infographics with age-appropriate language. I wonder if it’s because they already look like “simplified” versions of complicated data, so the creators don’t want the language to be too “easy”. It would be great to see your students create some infographics after having used this one in class as a model.

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